Former Australia leg-break bowler Shane Warne has called Steve Waugh as the most selfish player who always used to think about his average.

Shane Warne said Waugh had changed entirely to a different person after he became the captain of Australia. He dropped Warne from the fourth Test of the Windies tour in 1999 out of jealousy.

“He became a completely different person when he took over as captain,” Warne wrote. “It wasn’t that he dropped me. I have no issue about being dropped if I’m not performing; if you don’t perform, out you go. But there was more to it than my performances – I think it was jealousy. He started to niggle away, telling me to look at my diet and spend more time on deciding what sort of person I wanted to be in my life, how to conduct myself – that sort of stuff. I said, ‘Mate – worry about yourself.’ Shane Warne added.

Warne was not having his best time in the Windies. He only managed to pick two wickets at an average of 134.00 in the first three Tests. Moreover, Brian Lara had scored centuries in both the innings to help the hosts bounce back after a 312-run defeat in the first Test.

Shane Warne wrote what had happened on the selection meeting before the fourth and final Test:

'Steve Waugh the Most Selfish Player I Played With, Only Cared About his Average' - Shane Warne
Credit: Gary M. Prior/ALLSPORT

“I was the vice-captain and bowling pretty ordinary, and Tugga (Waugh) opened the selection meeting between the two of us and Geoff Marsh, the coach, by saying, ‘Warney, I don’t think you should play this next Test.’

“Silence. ‘Er, right,’ I said. ‘Why?’ ‘I don’t think you’re bowling very well, mate.’ ‘Yes… fair call,’ I admitted. ‘My shoulder [after surgery] is taking longer than I thought but it’s close now. The feel is slowly coming back, and then the rhythm will come, mate. I’m not worried.”

Shane Warne didn’t play the last match, but Australia managed to win the game. However, the rivalry between both remained the same, and both used to hate each other.

“Disappointed is not a strong enough word,” Warne wrote. “When the crunch came, Tugga didn’t support me, and I felt so totally let down by someone who I had supported big time and was also a good friend. I conducted myself badly, to be honest. I wasn’t that supportive of the team, which I regret.

Shane Warne, Steve Waugh.
Shane Warne, Steve Waugh. Image Courtesy: Getty

“Looking back, this was probably a combination of the shoulder issue still eating away at me and the pure anger bubbling inside at Steve’s lack of trust. During the first three Tests, at various times some of the bowlers came to me, grumbling about Tugga’s captaincy and field placements and stuff. I said I was backing him to the hilt and if they had a problem with the captain they should go see him direct. Perhaps because of this, I was deeply disappointed that he didn’t back me in return.” Shane Warne concluded.

Arijit Chatterjee

An avid sports lover